What to expect

After the 10 days are over, it is so important to remember everything you have learned and to minimize added sugars in your diet each day. You want to continue to stick to real, whole foods and minimize heavily processed foods with more than five ingredients and ingredients you cannot pronounce.

Remember the importance of reading food labels and choosing items that don’t have sugar in the ingredient list. If they do, you want sugar and any other words for sugar to be as close to the bottom of the ingredient list as possible to limit your intake. Sticking to the perimeter of the grocery store is still going to be essential for good health. Remember to have a balanced plate at lunch and dinner with half the plate filled with nonstarchy vegetables, one-quarter with lean protein and one-quarter with carbohydrates. Aim for two to three servings of fruit a day and remember to incorporate heart-healthy fats into your diet daily and drink plenty of water.

As you incorporate sugar into your diet, remember the American Heart Association recommends a maximum amount of added sugars daily: 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men. Now that you are experts in label reading and scoping out hidden sources of sugar, see what products you want to reintroduce into your diet that do not add up to more than the daily recommendation. I would not recommend adding back sodas or diet sodas if you have successfully gone 10 days without them! Your body is thanking you and is running much more efficiently without them!

If you know you aren’t quite strong enough to eat one bite of pie yet without devouring the entire thing, I would suggest steering clear of foods like that until you can do small amounts, if you reintroduce them at all.

To satisfy a craving for sweets, consider dark chocolate. Make sure the front of the label says the percentage of cocoa. Try not to choose anything less than 70% cocoa. Even if you hated dark chocolate before, now that you have gone 10 days without any chocolate you will be amazed at how sweet it tastes and how it can satisfy a craving. Trust me, I am telling you from experience! If you want something sweet to take to work, take a square of dark chocolate instead of a snickers bar or piece of cake.

Whatever you have with you is what you will eat, so make wise choices when purchasing food at the store and when packing snacks and lunch for the day. You will be amazed at how tasty that piece of dark chocolate is at 3 p.m. when you are scrounging around your desk drawers for a sweet treat!

Some forms of natural sweetener you can turn to are raw honey, pure maple syrup, pure stevia (without any sugar alcohols or other additives in the ingredient list) or dates. Dates are a great sugar substitute when baking.

Congratulations again on completing the Sugar Shutdown. Here is a resource that summarizes a sustainable, long-term plan.

What to eat

Here is a suggested meal plan to follow for Day 10 of the Sugar Shutdown. Please note you can make changes to fit your tastes, dietary and calorie needs.

As always, our important reminders:

  • Do not skip any meals. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Listen to your hunger cues. Eat until you’re satisfied, but give yourself a break before you start to snack to see if you’re actually hungry. (If you’re hungry enough to eat an apple, you’re probably hungry.)
  • Remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
  • Eat snacks that have both a protein and a carbohydrate (nuts and fruit, hummus and vegetables, string cheese and grapes). This will keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day and help you stay full and keep cravings at bay.
  • If you mix and match any meals, remember you want a maximum of two to three servings of fruit daily. Watch your serving sizes and your snacks! Aim for four to six servings of nonstarchy vegetables. Half of your plate at lunch and dinner should be nonstarchy vegetables. If you can get them in at breakfast too, even better. Snack time is an easy spot to get another serving in as well!


½ cup oatmeal

½ cup berries or half a banana

¼ cup walnuts

Optional: cinnamon, all-spice, unsweetened coconut pieces, vanilla flavoring

Morning snack

Veggies and hummus

3-4 ounces lean beef
Stir-fry vegetables
½ cup brown rice

We encourage using leftovers, especially at lunchtime!

Afternoon snack

3 cups popped popcorn


4-6 ounces chicken

Baked potato topped with Greek yogurt, sour cream or cottage cheese and fresh vegetables (peppers, onion, green onion), cheddar cheese (optional)

Oven-baked zucchini fries:

3 zucchini

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup Italian bread crumbs

¼ teaspoon salt

1 egg


1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil lightly greased with cooking spray.

2. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch sticks.

3. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese and salt in a bowl.

4. Whisk egg in a medium bowl. Add zucchini sticks and toss to coat. Place zucchini in bowl with dry mixture and cover completely.

5. Bake the zucchini until the fries are golden and tender, about 15 minutes.

6. Optional: Dip in marinara sauce.

How you should be feeling today

Accomplished, proud, happy, more energized, excited for the future!

This is just the beginning. It doesn’t end on Day 10, so be ready to carry this new health skill with you permanently and spread the news to your family and friends.

You did it!


Keep up the good work and don’t forget to exercise! It takes roughly 21 days to form a habit. You’re already halfway there! Keep at it and make a lifestyle change to encourage this new you!

Interesting fact

A substance called lugduname is the sweetest compound known — more than 200,000 times as sweet as table sugar.

Novant Health is here to help with lifestyle and nutrition services, sports medicine, and primary care physicians and clinics backed by caring support teams ready to help you live your best life.